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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:35 pm 
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I saw that this morning. The next couple of days may be very interesting, if hopefully not violent.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:57 pm 
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I almost feel bad for the speaker.

Almost.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:49 am 
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She is currently "applying her mind" to the judgement in question.

She had previously said that she saw no reason not to provide a secret ballot, but wasn't allowed to do so. The judgement did the verbal equivalent of circling this statement and pointing at it. It also pointed out that her decision must be "rational", which means that if she can't provide a good reason for her choice, she can very easily find herself in court again (the DA has in the past sued people for making decisions that were not "rational" and courts have even in some cases set aside those decisions, so I imagine the DA's lawyers already have the required paperwork filled out and ready to submit). So it looks like she doesn't exactly have much choice left.

Zuma, on the other hand, thinks that this motion of no confidence should be voted on in the same way as the seven motions of no confidence that he has already weathered, i.e. no secret ballot. He says that this whole secret ballot business is an attempt (by the opposing parties) to use a majority that they "have not got" - he seems to think that it is the right and duty of all ANC members of parliament to do as the ANC's national executive council decrees.

...I don't expect violence, at least not in the near future. I think a secret ballot is fairly likely but not certain.

Another alternative; the Speaker might manage to delay the vote until after December. December is important because that is when the ANC holds its next policy conference, at which point they elect a new ANC leader; they may at this point elect one of Zuma's cronies, at which point Zuma may leave the Presidency and quietly retire, perhaps to some country from which he cannot be extradited to face those corruption charges; then the change in leadership is used to deflect criticism while leaving the same entrenched group in charge of most of the power in the country.

What I would like to happen is for the secret ballot to be ordered, and Zuma to be out of the Presidency very shortly after. (That much seems quite possible to me. Having the vote go at over 90% against him will be very nice but seems unlikely.) Should this happen, I expect a lot of rhetoric and shouting, Zuma to flee (or attempt to flee) to the Guptas in Dubai, and Zuma to release a lot of very damaging documents on other people who up until then had worked with him (I think he knows where a lot of metaphorical skeletons are buried and has probably been using this knowledge). Should this happen, I expect a certain amount of yelling and shouting, plenty of appeals for calm, several high-profile court cases, maybe a bit of property damage and intimidation but no widespread violence, and when the dust settles, a Parliament that takes steps to prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again. (Not quite sure who would be in power after our next election in such a case).

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:01 am 
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Well, no word from Mbete yet.

She is in a difficult position. As one article puts it:

Quote:
If she wears her Party hat and refuses a secret ballot, then she will be cut down to size in the eyes of the Electorate. Her own presidential ambitions will likely end there.

But if she wears her State hat and allows a secret ballot, then she may be ostracized by her party for having sold it down the river.


There seems to be a lot of frantic behind-the-scenes stuff going on. (Zuma failed to make a planned appearance recently, apparently because he was in an urgent meeting with the ANC's national executive committee). But, beyond that, we're still just holding our breath and waiting.

Well, and signing petitions and all. (We're at close on 30 000 signatures asking for the secret ballot).

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:47 am 
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So, there's this group called OUTA (Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse). They're (as far as I understand it) basically a group of people interested in making it very clear exactly how their tax money is being wasted, and stopping said wastage if at all practical. They've been doing a fair amount of shouting about a (frankly rather terrible) road toll matter; and a few other things here and there.

And, just this morning, they released their report on the current Zuma situation. You can find it over here. In short, they lay out point by point exactly what's been going on, naming names, places, locations, the whole works. They're delivering copies of the report to all the members of parliament before the Motion of No Confidence, and have made it clear that should said Motion fail, they will be taking their report directly to the Constitutional Court. (Their report does point out that Zuma has failed to hold to section 96 of the Constitution, which points out (among other things) that members of Cabinet may not "use their position or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person" - which provision Zuma has not merely broken but shattered into tiny little pieces, as carefully described in the rest of the 175-page document).

I'm not entirely sure what exactly OUTA is expecting the Constitutional Court to do if things go that far...

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:26 pm 
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Perhaps they're hoping they'll do what the political system won't in spite of the political system. Which is rarely the way to bet, though I suppose it's possible the Court could try to expand their brief at the expense of the political system.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:59 am 
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The Constitutional Court does explicitly have the power to declare that "Parliament or the President has failed to fulfil a constitutional obligation". Though I'm still not entirely sure how much they can do with that declaration; there's a fairly strict separation-of-powers issue here.

I'm hoping that, if it gets that far, they might be able to declare an early general election...

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:51 am 
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Well, we have a date for the Motion of No Confidence in Jacob Zuma. It's the 8th of August.

Political parties have until the 14th of July to submit arguments to the Speaker with regards to whether or not the vote should happen by secret ballot.

In the meantime; there's a group called Black First Land First. They claim to be all about getting land out of white hands (whether or not said hands want to let go of it) - however, they seem to be spending all their time protesting against anything that goes against the everpresent Gupta family. Standing outside reporter's houses and shouting slogans, that sort of thing. Oh, and ANN7 - the Gupta-owned news (i.e. propaganda) station - always seems to know where they will be protesting in advance and sends out someone to hype it all up. There's a fairly long writeup of the whole thing here - but the short version is, this is the Guptas trying desperately to change the perception of the situation in news media. (I think BFLF only has something like twenty members? Not sure on that point).

In a way, it's... kind of ridiculous, really. A month or so ago, there were thousands of people marching under the banner of getting Zuma out of office. No matter how hard they try, I don't think those twenty-odd protestors-for-hire are really going to change public perception.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:00 am 
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Apparently BLF are getting into a bit of legal hot water over their habit of picketing outside the houses of any journalist who dares say anything bad about the Guptas. (Not sure that much will come of that, either way - in the great political back-and-forth, they count as "mooks". I expect they'll be made to stop, in one or another way (a severe legal talking-to and promise of worse consequences if it happens again might very well suffice, especially if they stop being paid to continue), but that there will be little if any repercussions for those who were hiring them.)

The ANC's policy conference is over. And apparently the ANC has always been united. Despite, you know, all the previous and current disagreements. Despite it being obvious that certain people are in certain opposing camps. On the bright side, the meme carefully introduced by the Gupta's PR company - that everything bad is due to the ogre of "white monopoly capital", so that they can stir up racial tensions every time anyone says anything bad about Zuma - has been at lest partially defanged - the ANC as a whole has apparently been persuaded that race has nothing to do with monopoly capital at all. (They're still demonising "monopoly capital", mind you - and I can see good reasons for them to do so, the Guptas being to my mind a perfect example of the worst of monopoly capital. We'll see where this goes in the future).

Oh, and it seems that Zuma's seeing some of the writing on the wall. One of the points that was under consideration at the conference was who will be the next leader of the ANC; current deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa (who has at least seemed to acknowledge that the Guptas are a problem) or former AU chairperson (and Zuma's ex-wife) Nkosizane Dlamini-Zuma (I may have spelt that wrong). Apparently now Zuma is pushing for idea like "whoever wins that race, second place should be the new deputy President" or "we should have two deputy Presidents going forward". This looks to me like he's trying to cover his bases; to make sure that Dlamini-Zuma gets a politically powerful post even if Ramaphosa is the next ANC president... which in turn implies that he sees a distinct possibility of Ramaphosa being the next ANC President and doesn't much like the look of that possibility.

In other news, there was a tender for new locomotives that went out... oh, years ago now. The purchased locomotives weren't within spec (they were taller than the specifications indicated, which apparently was a problem for tunnels and such) and was awarded under seriously fishy circumstances (the company that won the tender - based largely on their high BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) rating (a set of rules regarding ownership, investment, and skills development by black people; a form of affirmative action) promptly subcontracted the entire thing to a Swedish company with a BEE rating along the lines of "no", which is not supposed to be how the system works) has been ruled invalid by a court due to corruption. I'm not quite sure whether that means the rail agency can sue the Swedish company to get their money back or not, but I expect this to lead to a certain amount of further litigation down the line, and hopefully pretty swift consequences for the rail agency employees involved.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:11 am 
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You may recall that I made some mention of Bell Pottinger, the Gupta's PR firm. They seem to have been the ones behind the phrase "white monopoly capital", and tried to run a concerted PR campaign that drew attention aside from Zuma and the Guptas and all their corrupt dealings (by, mainly, stoking up racial tensions).

Well, some people here have been going after them in UK courts (they're a UK company), and it's got to the point where Bell Pottinger have issued an apology, fired someone, suspended others, and launched an internal investigation.

That's not enough to make people happy. The Save South Africa Campaign - among others - would like details, please. Exactly what did they do, who paid them, that sort of thing. Basically, full disclosure. And there have been cries for them to donate the money they got for this campaign to good causes, too. (They also used to be hired to promote South African tourism. The important phrase here is "used to be". By all accounts, they're good at what they do, but...)

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:12 pm 
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CCC wrote:
In other news, there was a tender for new locomotives that went out... oh, years ago now.


So a necessary engineering decision was overridden by social policy, which was then cheated, so neither social nor engineering objectives were met? *Slow clap*.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:05 am 
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In all fairness, the social policy in question is explicitly supposed to be trumped by technical constraints. This was nothing more than lip service paid to social policy in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to hide blatant corruption.

(There are a few problems with the whole BEE system; this isn't one of them. Outright theft can happen regardless of social policy.)

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:50 am 
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Apparently Zuma has been telling people that he's the only thing preventing South Africa from being captured by a Western conspiracy. (In all fairness, the Guptas are Indian, not Western...).

Talking of the Guptas; there's a well-known and much-derided incident a few years back where their wedding guests landed at a military airbase - something which civilian craft are not supposed to do. Well, somewhere in that flood of released emails, it seems there's evidence that sensitive military data (such as aviation maps of the airbase and so on) were accessed by the Guptas over insecure email systems; which is now leading to them being "potentially in contravention of the Defence Act, the SA Revenue Services Act and the Customs and Excise Act".

On the bright side, though, a few politicians are very publically stating that they intend to vote as they think is right in the Zuma motion-of-no-confidence vote (rather than blindly following the ANC party line):

Quote:
ANC MP and former mayor of Ekurhuleni Mondli Gungubele says he will follow his conscience in the upcoming vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, saying the two things he does not want to risk are his life and name, but if he had to choose, he would pick his name.


The motion is on 8 August. Less than a month to go.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:52 am 
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I may have previously mentioned some fracture lines in the Tripartite Alliance on here previously. The Tripartite Alliance consists of the ANC, the SACP (South African Communist Party) and Cosatu; these three groups have contested elections as a single, united body under the ANC banner for decades now.

Next election, the SACP has announced that they are contesting it on their own, competing with the ANC for the first time. Now, under the terms of their alliance, there are a lot of people who are members of both the ANC and the SACP; many of these are even government ministers. There've been calls (from the MK vets - a group who basically do pretty much whatever Zuma wants) for any members of the SACP who are ministers to step down in response.

There have also been rumours suggesting that people have offered Zuma two billion rand (that's well over a hundred billion dollars) if he tenders his resignation. Oh, and the deal comes with immunity from those pesky 700-odd corruption charges that hang over him like the Sword of Damocles. If that happened, Zuma clearly didn't accept the offer - analysts are apparently not surprised (he really doesn't need more money).

As to the motion of no confidence on 8 August - well, apparently seven out of thirteen parties in government have clearly indicated that they would very much like said motion to be held by secret ballot, please. (Four did not make any comment, and the remaining two - the ANC and the DA - basically said that they would 'do as the Speaker recommends', though apparently the DA made a point of pointing out that the Speaker's recommendation was legally required to be 'rational', which pretty much means that she may have to end up defending her line of reasoning in court - she can't just arbitrarily decide).

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:34 am 
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Well, an important decision has just been made.

The Speaker has (earlier today) announced that tomorrow's vote on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be by means of a secret ballot. (Apparently the South African Rand immediately strengthened significantly against other currencies).

With luck, this means that the vote of no confidence will succeed. It requires 50% of Parliament plus one person to vote in favour to pass; only votes in favour count, abstentions count the same as votes against.

If it succeeds, then the President leaves office and his Cabinet is dissolved. Parliament (which retains a heavy ANC majority) has thirty days to elect a new President from within their own number, with the Speaker temporarily acting as President. If they fail to do that, then we have new general elections within ninety days of the end of said thirty days...

Tomorrow will be an important day for South Africa. Let's see what happens.

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